The Sheffield metal titans were today confirmed to be topping the bill for the first time at the legendary twin-site event, along with fellow headliners Arctic Monkeys, Halsey, Dave, Megan Thee Stallion and Rage Against The Machine. Check out the full line-up here.
Speaking to NME about the booking, Sykes said: “It’s fucking mental isn’t it? I’ve never been so buzzed-out. When we got that email I was like, really? That’s not real. And Arctic Monkeys as well? It’s just going to be fucking wild, that.
He continued: “It feels like such a rock-y line-up next year. Some of the Reading & Leeds purists from 10 years ago are like, ‘Oh, it’s not the same any more!’ This feels like a proper classic Reading & Leeds line-up, do you know what I mean?”
Asked about what to expect from their set, Sykes said: “We’re gonna go hard. We’ll make sure it’s insane. I’ve always said that we’d play it when we’ve earned it, and it’s finally come. We have the songs, we have the bangers, and we might not be a household name but I know that we can put on a show that’s festival-headline quality.”
Explaining how their stage production will be an evolution from their recent acclaimed UK arena tour – awarded five stars by NME and hailed as “a cyber-punk circus” – Sykes said that fans could expect their R+L show to be “all about immersion”.
“For me, Universal Studios is the funnest place in the world,” said Sykes. “You’re queuing up and they just immerse so much in the world of that ride. I try to take that ethos to our set; involve people as much as possible and make it feel like a rollercoaster or a theme park ride. That’s what I want to do with our set next year at Reading. With every aspect of it, just to think of a way to do something different, deeper and more – just something that people remember.
“We can go and play all the music. We’ve got the songs, we’ve got the tunes and it’s going to be wicked, but you’re playing in front of about 65,000 people. What can we do to make those people walk away and say, ‘That was fucking different – that was wild’.”
Back in September, the band shared new single ‘DiE4u‘. It was the first taster of the follow-up to 2020’s chart-topping ‘POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR‘ mini album – with another record in the ‘POST HUMAN’ series to follow in early 2022. Sykes previously told NME that the new material was leaning towards a “hyper-pop” and “future-emo” sound, but has now also shared that their Reading & Leeds booking could shape the new songs.
“It’s cool man, because it changes your perspective on stuff,” said Sykes, discussing their slot. “When we got that call and got told, I said to Jordan [Fish, keys and production] when we were writing new music: ‘We need a proper ballad anthem for everyone to get on each others’ shoulders’. We’re playing to 65,000 people so we need to do a tune like that, which we haven’t done in ages.
“You just start thinking about being on that stage and what you’re going to play and what song will go mad. It will alter the course of this [next] record.”
Ultimately Sykes said that the band were hoping to use this opportunity of headlining such a major festival to prove themselves and win new fans round.
“People book [tickets for] Reading & Leeds before they even know who’s playing, don’t they? I’m sure that when we get announced, a lot of people will be like, ‘I don’t know that band’,” Sykes told NME. “They turn themselves into fans by the process of going, ‘Well, I’m going to check them out’. We’ve got this year to show these new people who might not have heard us who we are and what we’re about.”
He added: “Maybe that’s just my small-mind mentality of thinking that we’re still some kind of underground band, but it just feels like we’re going to have this other platform now where people are going to interested in what we do in the time leading up to that festival.”
Meanwhile, Bring Me The Horizon recently revealed that they’d been in the studio with Norwegian pop sensation Sigrid, as well as revealing the line-up for their own curated festival in Malta next year.